Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bye Bye Berdie

I am sure I am not the only one to have dreamt up this hilarious sylleptical play on words about Tomas Berdych's loss. But that doesn't make his loss any less... stupid.

I said it yesterday (about something else) and I'll say it again – is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Was Tomas Berdych seriously two sets up over French journeyman Stephane 'SteveBob' Robert before losing? Was he also up a break in the fifth? What has happened?

I can't say I'm especially sad about this turn of events – not only is it always a bit exciting to see a home-grown journeyman like SteveBob pull out the goods, I'm not exactly Big Berd's biggest fan. But considering he made, what, semis here last year? This is a dreadful result. The top ten really is in a state of flux right now. People talk about the decline of Federer, but one feels like they're not looking at the players ranked directly below him. Get down in the #6-10 range and it's getting hard to find someone who can keep the ball in the freaking court.

Before 2010, Tomas Berdych was thought of as a missed opportunity – an immense talent who never came good. And then suddenly it seemed like he did come good but making Roland Garros semis and the Wimbledon final and generally playing awesomesauce. But... yeah. I can't help thinking that Berdych might yet go down in the history books as a flash in the pan yet.

Let us spare a moment, however, to completely ignore the downfall of Big Berd and heap congratulations on SteveBob. That is some mental toughness right there. You do not beat a top ten player – much less one to whom you are two sets down – without a heart the size of a planet and a mind made of steel. Keep it up, SteveBob. And may your fellow French journeyman Monsieur Nicolas Mahut play as awesomely as you.

Berdych was the big upset of the day – mostly, the usual suspects made it through. Djokovic was in cruise control and Federer played some seriously good stuff to come up with the goods against Feliciano Lopez. The women were mostly pretty staid as well, apart from Anastasia Rodionova upsetting Nadia Petrova. I'd say something about it... but I can't think of anything to say, so let's just leave it.

The other name to go crashing out, though, was Milos Raonic, who went down right at the end of the day. Somewhere, Fernando Verdasco is cackling...

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